Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

The lost villages around Heathrow

By Tom Warren
BBC News

Cottages in the hamlet of Heath Row: photo Alan Gallop
Timber-framed cottages stood in the hamlet of Heath Row

The village of Sipson is due to be demolished to make way for Heathrow's controversial third runway - wiping 700 homes and a school from the map.

During the 1940s two other communities faced a similar fate as the airport was developed.

The village of Sipson is set to be consigned to the pages of history.

Lying on land planned for a new runway and dual-carriageway, it seems residents will soon have to begin new lives elsewhere.

Despite a long campaign, homes and businesses are expected to be the subject of compulsory purchase orders (CPO).

They were moved to suburban homes and all they had at best was a bit of garden
Alan Gallop, author

But it is not the first time communities have been pulled apart for the airport's expansion.

Until the early 1940s there was a thriving agricultural industry in the hamlets of Heath Row and Perry Oaks.

About 500 people lived there. Most grew fruit, vegetables and flowers on land around their homes.

There had been a settlement there for hundreds of years - Heath Row was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

But during World War II both became buried under concrete as the airport which would become Heathrow was built.

Government plan from 1946 about expanding the airport: pic Alan Gallop
The government drew up a plan in 1946 over how the airport should grow

The Terminal 3 departures building is situated where Heath Row once stood.

While Terminal 5 was built on top of the former Perry Oaks hamlet.

Alan Gallop, author of Time Flies, a history of Heathrow Airport, said up to 300 families were relocated in the 1940s when the airbase, then known as the Great Western Aerodrome, began to expand.

"When the plan was first mooted it was originally going to be an RAF base," he said.

"There was a very small aerodrome already on the site."

The Great Western Aerodrome was run by Fairey Aviation.

Mr Gallop said CPOs were issued to buy properties which stood in the way of the development.

Homeowners were offered the market value price as well as further compensation for their loss of land and crops if they could produce receipts.

Terminal 5
Terminal 5 stands on what was once Perry Oaks

Mr Gallop said most could not and so did not get their money until the 1950s.

As well as losing their homes, nearly all were forced to give up their livelihoods, as they had no land on which to grow crops at their new properties.

"They scattered all over the place like the children of Israel," Mr Gallop said.

"They were moved to suburban homes and all they had at best was a bit of garden."

He added several were able to move to Kent, where they had enough land to carry on their trade.

Print Sponsor


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific